How to walk in the Spirit – Step 1

Jesus allowed himself to be led by the Spirit (Luke 4:1). The one following Christ is to do the same. In the 5th chapter of Galatians Paul gives four commands that capture this idea. Each is uniquely associated with walking. He says we are to be: led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18), walk in the Spirit (Gal. 5:16), live by the Spirit (Gal 5:25), and keep in step with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25 NIV). The fact that the apostle would choose the word “walk” regarding our ongoing relationship with the Spirit is instructive. Walking is the biblical metaphor to describe daily habits.

John MacArthur explains,

The fact that peripateō (walk) is used here in the present tense indicates that Paul is speaking of continuous, regular action, in other words, an habitual way of life. And the fact that the verb is also in the imperative mood indicates he is not giving believers an option but a command. Among other things, walking implies progress, going from where one is to where he ought to be. As a believer submits to the Spirit’s control, he moves forward in his spiritual life. Step by step the Spirit moves him from where he is toward where God wants him to be (Galatians Commentary)

By tracing the word “walk” through Paul’s letters we discover four truths about the daily habits God wants us to develop.

Walking Truth 1: Be attentive. Developing daily habits is dangerous (Eph. 5:15-16).

 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil (Eph. 5:15-16)

Good habits are hard to maintain, and bad habits are hard to break. It is precisely because something done daily so easily becomes habitual that it is dangerous. We don’t think of walking as dangerous, but it is.

On October 20, 1970 Dave and John Kunst started walking east out of their hometown of Waseca Minnesota. Twenty pairs of shoes, and 14,450 miles later, Dave Kuntz would walk back into his town from the west side, having become the first person to circle the land mass of the earth by walking. His brother never returned, having been shot and killed by bandits in Afghanistan two years into their journey. When the Kunst brother left town that October they never considered that only one would return. Walking is dangerous. So are daily habits. Ask the forty-year old man who was introduced to pornography when he was thirteen, or the woman facing retirement who desperately wants to be victorious in her life-long battle with alcohol. The Scriptures warn us to develop daily habits carefully. Don’t let more than 24 hours go by without considering whether your choices are wise or unwise.


Walking Truth 2: Be Patient. Developing daily habits requires small steps. (Gal. 6:8-9).

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